Ad Alert

Indoor Tanning Association

FTC reminds industry group that claims to be safer than outdoor tanning are deceptive.

Ad Alert

Indoor Tanning Association

There’s no amendment guaranteeing a citizen’s right to tan indoors. But don’t tell that to the Indoor Tanning Association (ITA), an industry group representing tanning bed manufacturers that frames the issue as nothing less than a constitutional right.

“The ITA was founded to protect the freedom of individuals to acquire a suntan, via natural or artificial light,” the organization states on its website, which, for whatever reason, features images of bronze-skinned women tanning outdoors. (Also: How does one get a suntan from artificial light? Unless we’re all characters in “The Truman Show,” that sun is real.)

But more important than a purported right to tan indoors are the actual health risks associated with hopping into a tanning bed and exposing your skin to harmful ultraviolet rays, the cause of most skin cancer. But rather than alert consumers to these risks, an FAQ section on the site downplayed them, falsely claiming that “indoor tanning [was] more responsible than outdoor tanning” and that melanoma was not “associated with UV exposure from tanning beds.”

These statements caught the attention of the FTC, which reminded the ITA that such false claims are barred under a settlement it reached with the agency in 2010. Two years earlier, a national ad campaign by the ITA dismissed the link between tanning and skin cancer and sought to portray indoor tanning as safe and beneficial, the FTC said an investigation revealed.

In response to the FTC’s most recent inquiry, the ITA said the claims in the FAQ section predate the settlement and were not intentionally left there. It pledged to remove the claims and contact third parties that picked up the language for use on their own sites to do the same.

Find more of our coverage on indoor tanning here.


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